Leilia Hackberry Butterfly
Empress Leilia

Asterocampa leilia

Asterocampa leilia photo © by Mike Plagens

This male and female pair were observed at Tortilla Flat, Maricopa Co., Arizona, April 2009.

Along canyons and washes in the Sonoran Desert where Desert Hackberry grows this butterfly is a familiar site. Their habit is to perch on the ground and defend that spot against intruders. They will return to the spot again and again. Rarely do they visit flowers - but carrion and manure are irresistible. The wing span is from 6 cm. Males and females have different wing shapes: the male forewing is more pointed, presumably for faster, more agile flight useful for combating rivals.

Asterocampa leilia (male) photo © by Mike Plagens

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 6 May 2009,
updated 16 July 2021.